GOLF: Skipper Williams leads the way as County boys claim victory
Northants' Under-14 Boys team produced a complete performance in their friendly at Cambridgeshire as every player contributed in an 11-7 victory at Brampton Park GC.
Captain Jacob Williams won his nine-hole greensomes with Jack Peters, Elliot Strickland and Oscar Bell added another Northants point, before Harry Smith and Jadon Pham bagged a half.
Despite trailing by one point going into the nine-hole singles, the visitors took control with a half from Williams, followed by wins from Peters, Kai Raymond, Morgan Cresswell and Smith.
Young debutants Ben Atherton, James Attwood, Sonny Lennon and Matthew Reeve then took centre stage as they all won their singles matches to complete a great day.
The County selectors will have much to ponder this week as they pick the men’s first and second teams to face Leicestershire & Rutland in the opening round of Anglian League fixtures on Sunday, May 13.
With the first team competing at Wellingborough GC, several golfers improved their chances of playing with good performances in a friendly against Warwickshire in late April at the same venue.
Although the side were beaten 8½-6½, in-form Callum Farr, Mikey Chambers and Michael Farr will all come into contention after impressing, while young debutant Joe Quinn marked himself down as one for the future.
Those players who just miss out on first-team selection are expected to bolster the second-team ranks as they play the defending champions at Cosby.
Although the Northants reserve side go into the contest on the back of a heavy friendly defeat to Warwickshire at The Henley, the quartet of Ryan Genner, Jack Binch, Owen Watts and debutant David Gottsch did their cause no harm with solid displays.
NGL Higgs Bowl
Lee Smith (Kettering) lifted the first piece of County silverware for the year after winning the NGL Higgs Bowl at Overstone Park GC.
The six-handicapper carded two gross birdies in a net 68 to finish one ahead of Josh Sampson (Collingtree), with Ben Hohm (Kettering) and Andy Wheatley (Wellingborough) a further stroke off the pace.
In the first NGL Order of Merit event of the year, County first-team player Fraser Carnihan (Cold Ashby) birdied two of the short holes on his way to the leading gross score of 72.
NPGA Winter Pro-Am
Wellingborough’s redesigned golf course provided a stern test for the top players across the county in the latest NPGA Winter Series Pro-Am.
With the winds making it even more
tricky, Peterborough Milton’s Adam Chamberlain was the only golfer to match the par of 72 as he nudged one ahead of Simon Lilly (Staverton) and Nick Soto (Northampton).
The team prize went to Collingtree pro Rob Clayton’s side of amateurs Dick Spaughton, Ray Connolly and Greg Lunn with a 10-under-par total of 134.
Charley Hull recorded her best result on the LPGA Tour for 18 months as she grabbed a share of third prize in the LPGA Mediheal Championship in California.
The Kettering golfer carded 69, 68 and 73, before bagging two birdies in her last four holes in a final round of 70 to secure her highest finish since winning the Tour Championship in November 2016.
Collingtree Park’s Andy Dennis and Tony Schomberg were involved in the crucial game for the second match running as they secured the vital point on the 18th hole against Stoke Albany’s Paul Wilson and Callum Plowright in a 3-2 win.
The duo, whose defeat in extra holes at Cold Ashby meant the team started the season with a 3-2 loss, responded to the pressure by adding to home points from Ray Connolly and Trevor Twelftree (4&3) and Conor Rosling and Andy Castell (5&4).
Priors Hall got their second narrow victory of the season with a 3-2 home success against Rushden.
After beating Silverstone by the same scoreline, the Corby club were made to battle once again as Rushden clinched games one and three.
Trevor Shiells and Pete Dee’s slender win in the second tie proved decisive for Priors as Callum Milne and Sean Aitchison (3&2) levelled the match, before Paul Briggs and Scott Gordon sealed the victory by the same scoreline.
Ladies Cecil Leitch
Playing in very wet conditions on an away course for their first outing of 2018 proved no problem for Wellingborough as the team grabbed a brilliant 7-0 whitewash at Kettering.
Lema Townsend (2&1), Ida Huggins (3&1), Pat Briggs (5&4), Sue Sharp (3&1) and Jenny Wilkinson (7&6) bagged excellent wins, while past ladies captains Liz Waine and Marianne Price completed the perfect day with victories on the 18th hole.
Overstone Park enjoyed comfortable victories on consecutive Sundays as they won 6-1 at Silverstone before recording a 7-0 home success against Daventry a week later.
Gill Hodgson (8&6) was the most impressive winner at Silverstone, while Margo Lerin won by the same scoreline against Daventry, who lost 6-1 at Northants County a couple of days earlier.
Whittlebury Park completed the league double over Brampton Heath this year with a 4-3 home success.
Following a 6-1 away triumph the previous month, Whittlebury looked set for another huge victory when Denise Prescott, Beverley Price and Christine Coles walked in with big wins under their belts.
Brampton showed their battling qualities however as Ruth Ireland, Susan Hancock and Christine Halliday grabbed points, but it wasn’t quite enough as Tina Murdock confirmed the home team victory on the 17th hole.